Tech and crypto ETFs top the charts


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The best and worst-performing ETFs, sweet-tooths set to pay more, and lost luggage impacts one in three travellers. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Which ETFs top the returns table?

Stockspot's 2023 ETF Report has revealed which exchange-traded funds (ETFs) topped the leaderboard of returns over the year to June 30, 2023, and the results are surprising.


Cryptocurrency ETFs have been the best performers, led by the Global X 21Shares Ethereum ETF (EETH) and the Global X 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (EBTC) up 74.6% and 58.5% respectively.

But there's a twist. These ETFs experienced a steep decline of around 50% immediately after they listed in May 2022. So the rebound only brings their prices back to near-original listing values.

Tech-focused ETFs also rallied over the past 12 months driven by the rapidly advancing artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

Top 5 ETFs by estimated 1-year profit

  1. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS): $1.7 billion
  2. Magellan Global Fund - Open Class Units (MGOC): $1.4 billion
  3. iShares S&P 500 ETF (IVV): $1.2 billion
  4. Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF (VGS): $1.1 billion
  5. Betashares NASDAQ 100 ETF (NDQ): $861 million

Stockspot also named the ETFs that scored a wooden spoon for returns. The Global X Physical Palladium ETF and the Betashares Crude Oil Index ETF - Currency Hedged (Synthetic) were down -33.5% and -32.5% respectively for year, reflecting falls in some commodity prices.

The Betashares Crude Oil Index ETF was the top performer in Stockspot's 2022 ETF report, which goes to show that in a changing market, last year's rooster can easily become this year's feather duster.

Bottom 5 ETFs by estimated 1-year loss

  1. Resolution Capital Global Property Securities Fund (RCAP): -$104.6 million
  2. Betashares US Equities Strong Bear Currency Hedged ETF (BBUS): -$100 million
  3. Betashares Australian Strong Bear (BBOZ): -$76.6 million
  4. Betashares Crude Oil Index ETF Currency Hedged (OOO): -$70 million
  5. Global X Ultra Short Nasdaq 100 Hedge Fund (SNAS): -$53.1 million

A bitter taste - price of chocolate set to soar

Rabobank is warning chocoholics they can expect to pay more for their favourite treat.

The price of two key chocolate ingredients - cocoa and sugar - have been rising and are likely to remain at high levels as manufacturers around the world grapple with soaring input prices.

RaboResearch associate analyst Pia Piggott says global cocoa prices have been on an "upward trajectory" since September last year, due to poor growing conditions in West Africa, particularly the Ivory Coast which delivers more than 40% of global cocoa production.

Piggott says the high price of sugar, which accounts for "approximately 60% of the weight of an average bar of milk chocolate" is adding further price pressure.

The story does have a sweet ending. Rabobank says that as consumers tighten belts, manufacturers are "putting some of our favourite chocolates on sale to keep us buying them.".

Cherry Ripe is Australia's most popular chocolate, followed by Cadbury Dairy Milk 50g blocks and Mars Bars according to Roy Morgan research.

Scammers target loyalty points

The latest text message scam is targeting Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs.

Several hundred consumers have reported this scam to the ACCC's Scamwatch service in recent months, and the ACCC's deputy chair Catriona Lowe warns that other rewards programs could also be impacted.

The scam works by sending a text message or email stating that your loyalty points are expiring, but the message will include a link to a fake website, which prompts customers to login. Fall for the bait, and scammers can steal your loyalty points plus the login details to commit identity fraud.

"We are very concerned that Australians experiencing cost-of-living pressures may be more susceptible to these scams," Lowe says.

"Scammers are deliberately panicking consumers by claiming their points are expiring soon. We urge people to immediately delete or ignore any message regarding a loyalty program that contains a link."

See ya suitcase! One in three travellers lose luggage

Few things ruin a vacation faster than arriving at a destination only to discover your luggage is holidaying elsewhere.

One in three Australians (31%) have lost their luggage while travelling according to Compare the Market though, fortunately, half get their bags within days. Sadly, 3% never see their suitcase again.

However, we're far more likely to simply lose stuff. Almost half of us have lost items on holiday, with phone chargers (42%) and clothing (40.9%) most commonly left behind.

It all highlights the potential value of travel insurance, though Compare the Market's Adrian Taylor recommends expecting your policy closely to see what is and isn't included.

"Each travel policy is different, which is why I would advise travellers to compare the inclusions and exclusions across each policy."

Retirees in hot demand among employers

Retirees struggling to keep up with rising living costs may want to dust off their resumes. Recruitment firm Robert Half says a skills shortage has seen close to six in ten (58%) employers hire retirees over the past year.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm 40,600 more workers aged 65-plus were employed in February 2023 compared to early 2022.

Seniors can earn a reasonable income from work and still receive a pension. Under the Work Bonus scheme, the first $300 of fortnightly income from work is not assessed under the pension income test.

Any unused amount of the fortnightly $300 Work Bonus will accumulate in a Work Bonus income bank, up to a maximum amount of $11,800 until 31 December 2023 ($7,800 from January 1, 2024).

The amount accumulated in the income bank can be used to offset future income from work that would otherwise be assessed under the income test.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.